New Caruth Hall Provides Powerful Platform For Engineering Innovation

Hailed as an incubator for creativity and innovation, the new Caruth Hall the next chapter for SMU’s Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering. A campuswide ceremony April 16 marked the dedication of the 64,000-square-foot structure that will house the school’s broad outreach efforts and the departments of Engineering Management, Information and Systems, and Computer Science and Engineering.

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The Caruth Hall dedication ceremony was held in the Hillcrest Foundation Amphitheater.

The Hillcrest Foundation Amphitheater, located between the two wings of the new Caruth Hall, accommodated a near-capacity crowd during the dedication. Noting the contributions engineers have made to advances in
everything from surgery to water desalination, Dean Geoffrey Orsak said “we’re just scratching the surface of what this building will mean to generations and generations of engineers.”

The Lyle School is preparing for a busy summer, which will segue into the first full semester of classes in Caruth Hall this fall. Delores M. Etter, TI Distinguished Chair for Engineering Education and director of the Caruth Institute for Engineering Education, now housed in the new building, announced two summer programs: SMU students will develop prototype solutions for real world problems during three Immersion Design Experience (IDE) projects, part of the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® Lab; and a summer camp for middle school girls will focus on investigative forensics and biometrics. The camp expands the Lyle School’s national program to encourage K-12 students to prepare for engineering careers.

Designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building standards, the building includes a large, flexible laboratory space for around-the-clock team research projects.

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Caruth Hall is the third SMU engineering building completed in the past eight years.

Leadership commitments toward the project goal of more than $26 million include $7.5 million from the W.W. Caruth
Jr. Foundation Fund of Communities Foundation of Texas, $4 million from
Robert and Rebecca Palmer of Houston, $2 million from the Hillcrest Foundation
of Dallas, $1.5 million from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation of Tulsa and $1 million from Bobby B. Lyle. The most recent gift is $1 million from Mary Alice Shepherd and on behalf of her deceased husband, Texas Instruments pioneer Mark Shepherd Jr.

The new building is nearly double the size of the original Caruth Hall, historic home to SMU engineering from 1948 to its demolition in 2008. But pieces of the old building have been incorporated into the new as a tribute: Four verdigris lamps that hung from the original exterior have been installed on the new building’s southeastern face, and a carved limestone doorway from the old building’s east side has been repurposed as an entrance to a first-floor lounge area that also incorporates bricks from the original Caruth Hall in its interior walls.


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Hailed as an incubator for creativity and innovation, the new Caruth Hall opens the next chapter for SMU’s Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering.

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